Filed under: Chinese, Northwest Portland | Tags: Authentic Chinese food, beaverton, best dumplings, paleo, Sichuan
The Meat-O-Meter is from China. He has been on a seemingly never-ending quest to find food that will take him back to his childhood in Hei Fei Lu, Shanghai.
There are a number of authentic Chinese restaurants on 82nd. But the ones we frequent are all Hong Kong style, which is different than Northern China or Sichuan cuisine.
So we haven’t felt that any restaurant has earned an “OMG, this place is LEGIT, for REALS, YO!!” label (Asian-Fast-and-Furious-speak ) …until the Taste of Sichuan! Taste of Sichuan brought back all of the Meat-O-Meter’s childhood memories and he was simply giddy. (I know it’s hard to imagine, but with like most foodies after having found a great restaurant, there was noticeable change in outlook in life :D)
Upon the recommendation from Matt U. from CFP, we ventured all the way out to Beaverton for the possibility to get some LEGIT Chinese food. What sold us was the fact that they have two sections to their menu. The first section contains the typical Chinese American foods you see at any Westernized Chinese restaurant, but the next section is called “The Wild Side”. Please read the excerpt on their menu that explains this title here.
It was like they wrote it directly for us! They knew exactly what we were looking for! We were pretty blown away…hence our 20 minute trek out to the burbs.
What we ordered: 5 Flavored Smoked Beef, The Great Fire Pot Debate – Beef Brisket, and Dry Cooked String Beans.
How we ordered it: As is – it’s Chinese food so I guarantee there is some soy sauce and sugar used in the cooking process. I’ll offer some substitution suggestions below. I just need to note also that some dishes are made with MSG and our waiter told us that you can request for NO MSG when you odrer!
Just be warned that when you see Sichuan, you should equate that with SPICY! Some of the dishes may be ordered mild, but probably not most of them.
Cost: Five Flavored Beef – $6.95, The Great Fire Pot Debate – Beef Brisket – $12.95, Dry Cooked String Bean – $8.95
Quality: It’s hard to express in words the quality of the food here. With every bite you get a warm fuzzy sensation that is China-rrific. We will come back here repeatedly until we have tried every item on the menu. Eating at another restaurant would just seem wasteful when we know there’s amazing Chinese food waiting for us to order here! (So if you’re looking for us, this is probably where we will be for the next couple of weeks.)
The spiciness in the 5 Flavored Beef isn’t too overwhelming. It doesn’t set your mouth on fire when you take your first bite. You can taste the awesome complex flavor before the spiciness kicks in, which makes this dish a bit easier to eat for me than the similar sliced beef shank dish at Lucky Strike.
The String Beans were perfectly cooked. With this type of dish, it is made with black bean and soy sauce. You could probably ask them to make a garlic sauce, or order the bok choy or any other green vegetable with garlic sauce and that would be more paleo friendly. When we go back again, we will do this and let you know how it turns out!
Quantity: The best buck-for-meat from what we ordered was the Five Flavored Beef. It’s made from thinly sliced beef shank and just one of numerous other meat appetizers that surely are meat heavy as well. The beef brisket was a pretty good size, considering the size of the serving “pan”.
Like most other Chinese restaurants it had a similarly tendon-y texture to it, which really makes this dish LEGIT and awesome! This is the Meat-O-Meter’s favorite types of meat. For me, I can only eat so much of the “chewy meats” and sometimes I just want some good ol’ muscle meat and this brisket dish had a really great balance of the two textures.
We were really impressed! If you had told us that there would be great authentic Chinese food in the suburbs we would have never believed you. This restaurant was really clean, the service was uber professional, everything was in English AND Chinese in and out of the menu. Taste of Sichuan is definitely less hipster than the Lucky Strike, but nice and clean like a decent restaurant should be. It was almost a bit surreal.
For the few that are reading that are non-paleo ( all one of you ;)), here’s an extra gem we found:
OK, so there is a non-paleo item that we ordered and it is too good to not mention. Since visiting China last year, we are on the hunt for some dumplings. Not just any dumplings, but the dumplings that are called, “Xiao Long Bao”; which literally means “Little Dragon Buns”.
These dumplings are a pork and green onion mixture wrapped in a flour dough and then steamed, but the MOST important is the juice that is inside. Usually you have to eat them with a spoon because there’s so much meat juice/fat inside. Sometimes the juice is from the dab of duck fat that they put in the dumpling right before they wrap and steam it.
These dumplings are impossible to find in Portland. When we saw this on Taste of Sichuan’s Specials Menu we were in disbelief! So we had to order them and they ended up tasting so much like the ones we had in China! They are only served on Fri, Sat and Sun night during dinner. Probably because they are only good if they are made fresh.
These dumplings pretty much solidified the authenticity of this restaurant.
Back to Paleo speak:
So if you are feeling adventurous, you can order from The Wild Side menu. Grab a bunch of friends and go experience something new and try it out! I will try to post additional dishes that would be good to order so that the not-so-adventurous types can be forewarned.
Of course you can always stick to the “Normal Menu”, which I’m sure are all just as good, but that would be boring and predictable and probably would not optimize the adventure that could be when headed out to Beaverton Taste of Sichuan, oh how we heart you!
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